We talk a lot around Time2Save about picking up extra free/cheap items to donate to your local food pantry, women’s shelter, etc… We think it’s one of the most rewarding things in the world to be able to share the blessings of abundance with others who are still in a place of need. All of us have seasons of need (I know I have – many seasons!) and while couponing helped my family pull ourselves out of that place, it was also the kindness and generosity of others that helped us make it through.
I wanted to tell you guys about a new mission I’m undertaking in my own neighborhood that has got me doubly motivated to buy extra for the sole purpose of giving!
I live in a part of town where there are several low-rent motels side-by-side on the same strip. It’s like a little run-down city of it’s own. Lots of interesting characters call it home, including seasonal workers, families with no place else to go and a whole variety of people down on their luck. It’s common to see an elderly couple dressed in week-old clothes, pushing a shopping cart down the street looking for bottles and cans. Or to see a bone-skinny woman on the side of the road, stooping to search for cigarette butts in the gravel. The gas station across from the street from the motels is one I go into often, and the Indian man who runs it, Sam, sees a lot of desperate people come through his doors daily.
A few weeks ago, Sam was telling me that if he could ever win the lottery – he would open a hospital. He would let everyone come and be treated for free – all the people he sees so often that aren’t able to go would finally have a way. He told me about the mothers that come in and count out their change on the countertop to buy a gallon of milk. It set me to thinking about the fact that he deals with these people every day, on a level that I never will. As I walked back out to my van, I opened my trunk to pull out a box of Cheerios for the kids’ morning breakfast, so I wouldn’t forget once I got home. I looked into the trunk at a stack of 8 boxes of Cheerios that I’d picked up at Bi-Lo recently for under $1 each. It struck me that Sam undoubtedly knew of several people who would be able to use a box of Cheerios right now. Right here. Meeting people in their need – exactly where they are at this moment. People who probably couldn’t make it to the food pantry across town because they had to walk everywhere they went.
I ran back in and asked him if he would be comfortable giving away a box a week of items I brought to him, to someone he felt needed it. He told me he’d be happy to do it and I drove straight home to start cleaning out my stockpile.
So here’s what I’m doing now – here in my own neighborhood, where there are people who need help just beyond my subdivision. However they got to this place, wherever they might be going from here – this is something I can do for them with little effort to show them a tiny bit of God’s love.
Sam spoke with my husband last night – he gave my first box away to a man who came into the gas station this week. I know it’s only one drop in the bucket, but I just couldn’t be happier!
We would be honored if you would share a story with us about one way in which you have been able to give through couponing. Please email your story to email@example.com – or share in the comment section below.